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by Roland Topor

by Arnon Grunberg
the model
the photographer
the web designers
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The Making Of

A summary of the main characters that participated in the making of Arnon Grunberg Wines or their savvy, expertise and inspiration have been used for it. Check this place also out for rare facts and details regarding the three wines and the three novels used to make Arnon Grunberg Wines.

In order of appearance:
THE THREE NOVELS by Arnon Grunberg
JOHN CHARLES WOODWARD, the photographer
EMMANUEL ZEGELING and DANIËL TIJL, the web designers
EDDY DE BOER and MICHIEL VAN WIJK, the Dutch importers



Arnon Yasha Yves (Arnon) Grunberg (born February 22, 1971 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch writer who lives and works since 1995 in New York City. Some of his books were written using the heteronym Marek van der Jagt.

Grunberg made his literary debut in 1994 with the novel Blauwe maandagen (Blue Mondays), which won the Dutch prize for the best debut novel that year. In 2000, under the heteronym Marek van der Jagt, he won the best debut prize again for his novel De geschiedenis van mijn kaalheid (The History of My Baldness).

©2010 Mathieu Bourgois

Grunberg publishes novels about once a year but also writes columns and essays in a wide variety of Dutch and international newspapers and magazines. He does not restrict himself only to the written media, but also reads a story for the radio every week and for some time he was host of a cultural television program. He also writes a blog for his own site ArnonGrunberg.com.

His novel Tirza won the Dutch Golden Owl Prize for Literature and the Libris Prize. His books have been translated into 25 languages, including English, German, Italian, Spanish., French Japanese and Georgian.
From 2006 Grunberg wrote various journalistic reports, for example about working undercover in a Bavarian hotel and his visit to Guantánamo Bay. He visited the Dutch troops in Afghanistan twice and was embedded with the US Army in Iraq on two occasions. In 2009 his experiences about these assignments were collected in the book Chambermaids and Soldiers. In December 2009 his whole oeuvre was awarded with the prestigious Dutch Literature price Constantijn Huygensprijs  In the spring of 2010 Grunberg drove from Istanbul to Bagdad. At the same time it was announced that the film version of his novel Tirza (2006) will come out in September 2010 when a stage play based on this novel will hit the theaters. The film version of The Asylum Seeker (2003) has still to be made but the film rights have been sold already. Grunberg’s new novel will come out in the fall of 2010 through his Dutch publisher Nijgh & Van Ditmar (www.nijghenvanditmar.nl)

Selected bibliography


  • Blauwe maandagen / Blue Mondays (1994)
  • Figuranten / Silent Extras (1997)
  • De heilige Antonio ("Saint Antony", "Boekenweekgeschenk") (1998)
  • Fantoompijn / Phantom Pain (2000)
  • De geschiedenis van mijn kaalheid / Story of My Baldness (2000), as Marek van der Jagt
  • De Mensheid zij geprezen, Lof der Zotheid 2001 ("Praised be Mankind"/"Praise of Folly 2001") (2001)
  • Gstaad 95-98 (2002), as Marek van der Jagt
  • De asielzoeker ("The Asylum Seeker") (2003)
  • De joodse messias / Grote jiddische roman ("The Jewish Messiah") (2004)
  • Tirza (2006)
  • Onze oom ("Our Uncle") (2008)
  • Huid & Haar ("Tooth And Nail") (2010)


  • Amuse-Gueule / Amuse-Bouche (2001)
  • Grunberg rond de wereld ("Grunberg Around the World") (2004)
  • Kamermeisjes & Soldaten ("Chambermaids and Soldiers") 2009


  • De troost van de slapstick ("The Comfort of Slapstick") (1998)
  • Monogaam ("Monogamous") (2002), as Marek van der Jagt
  • Otto Weininger Of bestaat de jood? ("Otto Weininger or Does the Jew Exist?") (2005), as Marek van der Jagt


  • Het 14e kippetje ("The Fourteenth Chicken") (1998)


  • Tirza (September 2010)
  • The Asylum Seeker (2012)


  • You are also very attractive when you are dead (1998)
  • Tirza (2010)





Aris Derksen (born March 22nd 1963 in Velp, Holland) moved to Madrid in 1986 and has been involved in the international wine industry since 1989.
Derksen worked in exports for several Spanish wineries until 2003 when he founded Winter Business Group, S.L. (WBG).

©2010 Isabel Cazorla

His company specializes in interim management consultancy for wineries in international markets. Derksen applies his operational export experience to help early-stage export wineries become successful, global operating businesses.
Winter Business Group (www.winterbusinessgroup.net) are experts at bringing European and New World wines to the main wine markets of Western Europe, to the USA and Canada and to South East Asia.
Winter Business Group manages a moderate seed fund for investment in young wineries and new wine related companies with a strong growth strategy for exports. WBG don't just invest in wineries, they partner with them. Arnon Grunberg Wines is one of WBG’s most recent investments.

Marquis of GRIÑON

©2010 Pagos de Familia Marques de Griñon

Carlos Falcó (born February 3rd 1937 in Seville, Spain, Palacio de las Dueñas) is the grandson of the XII Marquis of Castel-Moncayo and is the most important wine pioneer in Spain since the late 1960ties. The Bodega Pagos Marqués de Griñón was built in 1989 in Malpica de Tajo in the Province of Toledo.

In 2001 a winery was also built on the family estate El Rincon, 55 km south east of the capital. Carlos Falcó is considered one of the leaders in the modernization of wine-growing and wine in Spain. Set on the Valdepusa estate in the D.O. region of the same name which is owned by the family, the only purpose of the bodega Pagos Marques de Griñon is to make high quality wines from the fruit produced by 50 hectares of own vineyards.

This was the first vineyard in Spain to use sustainable wine-growing systems with lyre and Smart-Dyson trellises and it also pioneered trickle irrigation.

Its annual production, with assistance from the famous oenologist from Bordeaux, Michel Rolland, is exclusively focused on red vinos de pago (high quality “estate” wines) which are produced from the estate’s own vineyards. The collection of varietal wines includes the Dominio de Valdepusa Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot wines. These were joined in 1997 by the mixed-grape Emeritvs which is produced from the best casks of each grape variety. In 2001 Svmma Varietalis first appeared on the market, a wine which is also made from three grape varietals and is barrel-aged for twelve months.



Andreas Kubach (born January 20th, 1971 in Frankfurt am Mainz, Germany) has been involved in the international wine industry since 1994. Kubach worked in various management positions in Schenk and Bodegas ARCO/Berberana before establishing Vinista his own management company in 2003.

© 2010 Pagos de Familia Marques de Griñon

Vinista is a consulting company for the wine industry, focusing on strategy, product development and marketing. Since October 2004 Kubach has been the right hand of Carlos Falcó as Managing Director of Marques de Griñon, S.A.




Sigmund Freud (German pronunciation: [ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏt]), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939), was a Jewish-Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry.[1] Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression, and for creating the clinical practice of psychoanalysis for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient, technically referred to as an "analysist", and a psychoanalyst.

Freud is also renowned for his redefinition of sexual desire as the primary motivational energy of human life, as well as for his therapeutic techniques, including the use of free association, his theory of transference in the therapeutic relationship, and the interpretation of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires. He was an early neurological researcher into cerebral palsy, and a prolific essayist, drawing on psychoanalysis to contribute to the history, interpretation and critique of culture.



Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the fundamental question of whether reason alone can unlock answers about the world.

Schopenhauer's most influential work, The World as Will and Representation, emphasized the role of man's basic motivation, which Schopenhauer called will. His analysis of will led him to the conclusion that emotional, physical, and sexual desires can never be fulfilled. Consequently, he favored a lifestyle of negating human desires, similar to the teachings of ancient Greek Stoic philosophers, Buddhism, and Vedanta.
Schopenhauer's metaphysical analysis of will, his views on human motivation and desire, and his aphoristic writing style influenced many well-known thinkers including Friedrich Nietzsche,[2] Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein,[3] Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Gustav Jung, and Jorge Luis Borges.



Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German[2] philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary, whose ideas are credited as the foundation of modern communism. Marx summarized his approach in the first line of chapter one of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

Marx argued that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its destruction.[3] Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, he believed socialism would, in its turn, replace capitalism, and lead to a stateless, classless society called pure communism. This would emerge after a transitional period called the "dictatorship of the proletariat": a period sometimes referred to as the "workers state" or "workers' democracy.
On the other hand, Marx argued that socio-economic change occurred through organized revolutionary action. He argued that capitalism will end through the organized actions of an international working class: "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence."[7]
While Marx remained a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas and the ideology of Marxism began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death. This influence gained added impetus with the victory of the Bolsheviks in the Russian October Revolution in 1917, and few parts of the world remained significantly untouched by Marxian ideas in the course of the twentieth century. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.



The work of Topor is a rare combination of irony and cruelty and compassion. He’s one of the few humane sadists I know and only for that he’s irreplaceable” – Arnon Grunberg

Roland Topor (January 7, 1938 – April 16, 1997), was a French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker, known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish Jewish origin and spent the early years of his life in Savoy where his family hid him from the Nazi peril.

Much-loved in Europe but little-known in the United States, iconoclastic Roland Topor utilized different media in which to share his absurdist and often disturbing view of the world. An illustrator, graphic designer, author, playwright, filmmaker, song writer, actor, and creator of innovative television programming, he was at his best when upsetting life's apple cart. As an illustrator/graphic artist, Topor was responsible for the odd visual style of the Czech/French animated sci-fi feature La Planete Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) (1973), which won the Prix Special at Cannes that year and has since become a cult favorite. As an author, he was known for combining surrealism with black humor. Roman Polanski's The Tenant (1976) is based on Topor's Le Locataire Chimerique. As a screenwriter, Topor penned a number of stories, including the silent comedy La Fille du Garde Barriere (1975) and the surreal Marquis (1989), a recounting of the Marquis de Sade's involvement in the French Revolution in which the protagonists' true characters were represented by animal masks. Topor's movie posters, notably his European one for The Tin Drum, were frequently controversial. Topor's offbeat puppet show Telechat ran for two years on French station Antenne 2 with 234 episodes. The show's main characters were a cat, an ostrich, and a fork. Topor the playwright's productions were like his stories and incorporated plenty of dark absurdism. Occasionally, as with the play Ubu Roi, he would design the sets and costumes too. Topor had acted before and was at his best playing Renfield in Werner Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1979). As a songwriter, Topor provided tunes for Jerome Savary's Grand Magic Circus. He was also respected as a popular and prolific painter who created hundreds of works. When not creating, Topor was thinking and he frequently came up with pithy bits such as, "Imagine an ancient typewriter in which all the keys have disappeared, save for three tiny letters: f, i, n." During the 1960s, he involved himself with Panique, a group involved with Dadaism. Other group members included Fernando Arrabal and fellow cult figure, expatriate Chilean filmmaker and kindred spirit to Topor, Alejandro Jodorowsky. Topor was an incurable bon vivant. And despite the cynicism inherent in his work, he seemed to live life to its fullest. Still, on April 16, 1997, the 59-year-old avant garde artist died in a coma. Doctors were unsure whether the coma resulted from an aneurysm or a cerebral hemorrhage. ~© Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide


by Roland Topor




by Arnon Grunberg

On the front label of this wine a fragment from “The Story of My Baldness” (New York 2004) by Marek van der Jagt (heteronym by Arnon Grunberg) is used.

What is the book about?
The narrator of The Story of My Baldness is named Marek van der Jagt -- as is, ostensibly, the author of the novel. In fact, the novel was written by prolific and acclaimed young Dutch author Arnon Grunberg, perhaps taking the idea of getting into a character a bit too far.

As it turns out, The Story of My Baldness doesn't focus too much on Marek's baldness, either. Yes, he suffers from premature and extreme hair loss, but after opening the novel with this complaint and pinpointing when it started, baldness isn't mentioned until far into the book. But it is a story of laying bare, Marek revealing himself in all his disappointing mediocrity -- and, as he explains in the end, of all the descriptions he could have used in the title:

Of everything that is lacking, my hair is the least, and that is why that delightful word "baldness" seemed best to me.

Marek is a student, and tutor, the youngest (and least promising) of three sons. His mother died three years earlier, when he was just eighteen, and his father has since remarried. Marek's baldness, and the story, essentially begins when he meets a woman who brings a bit of his mother back to him, and leads him to recall the past few years.
       The Story of My Baldness is presented as a novel of a quest. Marek had a fascination with "the phenomenon of l'amour fou", a sort of passion without concern for anything else. He wanted to lose himself in that head over heels way -- but couldn't ever find it. But his concept of l'amour fou proves elusive wherever he looks:
     I devoured everything I could find about l'amour fou. In translation and in the original French, with the help of dictionaries. A great deal of what had been written about it turned out to be awfully dry and boring. I found that unbelievable.
       Marek's teenage adventures on his quest are of the not unexpected sort -- though perhaps a bit more humiliating and disastrous than most ("Doesn't it get any bigger than that?" is definitely not a question one wants to hear at certain moments). Still, he manages for the most part -- helped by the fact that no one really pays all that much attention to what he does.
       The Story of My Baldness is a confessional novel: Marek bares his soul and shares what he's done. Most of it is simply embarrassing, in a childish, innocent way, but not all: by the end it's clear why Marek's tale isn't merely hair-raising, but rather more. For the most part The Story of My Baldness tells a fairly amusing slightly dysfunctional family tale: Mom sleeps around, Dad isn't entirely focussed on the matters at hand, the stepmother successfully sells her book in country after country, Marek's brothers always destined for greater success than he is. In how it's tied up it becomes a bit more, as Marek's mediocre life is seen from a new vantage point.
       There are the usual Grunberg cast of odd characters, quirky but not overblown, and there's a nice mix of incident, observation, and commentary. Everything moves along easily enough, but it's a cleverly written novel, sly and slightly disconcerting. Unusual, but worthwhile.


On the frontlabel of this wine (not released yet) a fragment from the novel “The Jewish Messiah” is used (New York 2008).

What is this book about?
Because his grandfather had served the SS with genuine enthusiasm and an abiding belief in progress, the grandson also wanted to serve a movement with enthusiasm and belief in progress.’ This is the kick-off to a slapstick story with a grim twist. The movement that 16-year old Xavier Radek decides to serve is Zionism. More specifically, his goal is to console the Jews.
Initially, he thinks he has to accomplish this by writing the Great Yiddish Novel. Later on, he shifts his vision to politics. The first practical step towards Judaism is becoming a Jew among the Jewish. He joins the Jewish youth movement in his home town of Basel, visits the synagogue, becomes a regular at the home of the Rabbi’s large family, and develops a special friendship with Awromele, the eldest son. The big consolation has started, and the big suffering.
Xavier loses a testicle while being circumcised by a nearly blind circumciser. The testicle ends up in a jar with nitrous acid and is baptized King David. That moment marks the beginning of a roller-coaster ride, from Xavier Radek’s tumultuous progress as consoler of the Jewish people, with King David – the Messiah reincarnate – at his side, to the absurdities the writer has in store for us. In Israel, Radek develops into a formidable political leader at the level of he-whose-name-we-cannot-speak. Having retreated to his bunker after nuclear weapons have been put on engage, he comes to the final conclusion that the only consolation is total destruction.
In all its craziness, The Jewish Messiah is a jet-black novel. Grunberg writes about a hopeless war in the only sensible way; namely, through the triumph of folly. Nothing is sacred, nothing is spared, all so-called identities are mocked, whether Jewish, the sexual or masculine. Paedophiles, the autistic, anti-Semitics, rabbis, Arabs and Kierkegaard-supporters: whores and whoremongers, all of them. Xavier tells his beloved Awromele ‘Do not compete with mediocrity’ and ‘I want to baffle the people.’
In terms of tempo and intrigue, Grunberg has reverted in The Jewish Messiah to the more satirical style of his early novels, Blue Mondays and Silent Extras.
Considering the merciless view of the world he unfolds, one wonders whether this ‘Great Yiddish Novel’ is not his version of the Satanic Verses.

On the front label of this wine (not released yet)  a fragment is used from the novella Monkey Grabbing Hold of Happiness (Het aapje dat geluk pakt), 2004.

What is this book about?
The protagonist of the short novel Monkey Grabbing Hold of Happiness, Jean-Baptist Warnke, number two at the Dutch Embassy in Peru, is no exception. In his work as a diplomat Warnke calmly bobs with the tide. Instead of consular assistance, compatriots who find themselves in Peruvian prisons receive a fruit hamper and a couple of Edam cheeses: ‘If you examine it closely, freedom is largely a matter of a proper diet.’
To his own surprise, Warnke is seduced by a young Peruvian woman who exploits him in her work as a terrorist, until she dies in active service. When the truth finally dawns on the diplomat he feels no sense of betrayal and is prepared to commit an insane act of his own, out of misplaced love for the Peruvian girl. Grunberg transforms Warnke from a dreamy idiot into a suicidal terrorist. A stunning and utterly convincing achievement.
Arnon Grunberg is never afraid to confront readers with a harsh message. His well-intentioned characters are always painfully naive and they consistently come to a sticky end. Grunberg describes their fateful progress in razor-sharp sentences and desperately hilarious scenes.

Christie Smith
the model


Christie Smith (born December 24th, 1986 in Durban, South Africa) is a graduate from Stellenbosch University (SA) Cum Laude in Marketing. She's a wine consultant for Private Wine Merchants Frogitt & Vonkel in Stellenbosch and the international Arnon Grunberg Wines campaign is her modeling debut.

John Charles Woodward
the photographer


Photographer John Woodward (born July 28th ,1971 in Essex, UK) is a British wine entrepreneur based in South Africa. When not marketing exclusive wines, he enjoys combining wine with his other passion; photography.

Emmanuel Zegeling and Daniël Tijl
The web designers


Emmanuel Zegeling and Daniël Tijl (both born in September 1972, Haarlem), are partners in Engine branding & identity, Amsterdam. The photo features them standing in front of the house where Arnon Grunberg wrote his first novel.

Eddy de Boer and Michiel van Wijk
the Dutch importers


Vinites from Haarlem is a privately owned Dutch wine import company, cleverly fattened up by hard work, skilful management and a tailor’s eye for the right wines.

Founder Eddy Boer (1960) who started the company almost 25 years ago, together with his long-serving companion and managing director Michiel van Wijk (1963) has succeeded not only in being an absolute market leader in trading Italian quality wines in Holland, but also in choosing highly reputable wineries from the main wine countries in the world. Wineries with a long term international recognized track record and a high connoisseur value. Marques de Griñon wines have been imported by Vinites since 2004 and Vinites is the exclusive distributor for Arnon Grunberg Wines since June 2010.


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Arnon Grunberg Wines
Madrid - Spain
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